1876 Dresden – 1956 Graefelfing
An impressionist at the Chiemsee
The painterly mood content, which the artist Alfred Schmidt captured in countless variations on the canvas, occupies such an eminent and substantial position that it is inextricably linked to his oeuvre. “[…] Female creatures walking in the shimmering air […]”(1), who find their pleasure in the warm, golden tones of summer and the grey-silver shimmering water surface of the lake, correspond to the characteristic motif of the native of Dresden. One is inevitably reminded of the impressionist Christian Landenberger (1862-1927), to whom Schmidt was a friend and who painted canvas on canvas at Lake Ammersee, but “[…] softer, sweeter and more narrative, because he [Schmidt] often expands on that Nature and the human body come together to create a small, genre-like idyll”(2).
His art is a commitment to plein air painting. He openly displays his impressionistic impetus. The originally anecdotal aspects of his painting, which he had experienced at the Karlsruhe Academy from 1886 to 1893, he gradually put aside both through the one-year study visit to Paris and Brittany in 1889 and through the influence of Landenberger and Swabian landscape painting. From this point onwards, artistic development is hardly noticeable. He had found his individual style and stuck to it.
At the end of 1899, Schmidt came to the Swabian capital from Karlsruhe in the entourage of Leopold Graf von Kalckreuth (1855-1922), who was appointed to the Stuttgart Academy with Carlos Grethe (1864-1913) and Robert Poetzelberger (1856-1930). With these, he founded the Stuttgart Artists’ Association there, of which he was a member for 40 years, and also his own painting school for women until he was appointed full professor at the State Art Academy in 1918. In the summer months, Schmidt was drawn to the country. First he painted in Diessen am Ammersee. From 1920 he discovered Lake Chiemsee and took up residence on a farm in Gollenshausen. In the later stages of his life, the Bavarian sea advanced to become the focus of his artistic work. He was one of the first to own an outboard engine, which he used to roar across the lake. He was also known as “Violet Schmidt” because he so aptly expressed his sense of the discoloration of the landscape in a bluish-violet hue. In this way, summer air, water reflections, cloudy sky and figurative motif merged into a harmonious, impressionistic dance of colors to create a concentrated mood that the Chiemsee is able to stage in so many ways.